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Discovering a missing part of my history

My paternal grandfather was adopted by his mother’s second husband. He grew up not knowing his biological father, which caused him a certain level of unhappiness in his life. This was before internet genealogy was a thing, so I don’t think he ever knew how to do the research to find the information.

Baker Genealogy CenterI never knew much about the library's Baker Genealogy Center until I started working here last September. Proximity sparked my curiosity as I started spending some of my desk time in the Topeka Room researching my family tree. I mainly used the Ancestry Library Edition (can only be used in the library) and Find A Grave websites, and after I took the phenomenal genealogy introduction courses Sherri Camp, our genealogy librarian teaches. I also started using the FamilySearch website.

One day I looked my grandpa up on Find A Grave and saw the name of his biological father. It took me a minute to figure out what I was seeing, but then it registered that his father’s name was listed as Robert Cluff. How cool that some of my early searches helped me learn the name of my paternal grandfather’s father. I then started thinking that my grandfather’s and father’s last name, and subsequently mine, would have been Cluff. While it's great to find his last name, I think I prefer the adopted last name of Masters. I do feel like words can define someone, so it made me wonder how different I would have been if I had the last name Cluff.

Finding this information ignited my curiosity about the people who make up my family’s tree. If you are curious about your family’s genealogy, I encourage you to start your search by utilizing the library’s Baker Genealogy Center.

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